As developers we normally find ourselves with about 20 ideas at any given time. My question to you is how many of these ideas have you actually tried to build, how many have you let roll off a cliff and how many have escaped you and you have forgotten about...until now?
The likely hood is quite high, so in this article we take a look at ways in which you can plan your projects / side hustles around your current working life and how to plan, execute and review.
I have managed to learn a thing or two about side hustles / projects as I have had a couple going on at any given time over the last few years, some of which have now made me money or been used excessively. With that in mind lets take a look at some common stages in the process and ways in which you can implement them.
Planning out your idea is crucial and it is something that a lot of us avoid doing as we just jump straight in. Although I am never against doing, planning out how you execute is incredible useful as it gyves you direction and understanding of where your project is heading.
Your plan doesn't need to be in huge detail, just enough for you to understand the steps you need to take to finish it.
When planning I follow the steps I have listed below to give me an outline:
Brainstorming is incredibly useful as it allows you to chuck all of your ideas out onto paper, You can then use this to clarify ideas and make sense of them.
2) sticky notes, questions and working backwards
I recommend putting the ideas on sticky notes and working backwards as a way of figuring out how to achieve them. For example, lets say you have an app idea where you want to create a cooking class app. First, think about your ideas for how you are going to make this work by using the brainstorming technique mentioned above, then jot them down on sticky notes and now start to map how they lead to the goal of creating a cooking app.
3) Prioritise and plan
Now is the time to start taking your ideas and converting them into actionable steps that you can then implement. To do this I recommend using something to help you manage this, such as a Trello board(Jira is most likely overkill for this).
Take your sticky notes and create tickets on your Trello board that have the following layout:
- Functionality or part of the idea that you need to create.
- Tasks for completing the functionality or idea.
Then create Three columns, Todo, In progress and Done(We are following a kanban approach here).
An example of this would be creating a task for a sign up page for your cooking app, the ticket may look like this:
Now that you have some actionable steps, its time to execute.
This part is relatively straight forward, you simply need to execute on your plan that you made above, the issue here is time that you have available.
Making time can be easy though, for example you could wake up an hour earlier and then work on the idea, Make lunches the night before or skip that gym class one night a week. Either way, I am sure that you can find time to do this, especially if you have already planned it.
Tips for execution would be to make sure that you use your trellis tickets as a guide. You may find that you find something shiny and exciting that you get attracted to while you are executing, it is at points like this that the Trello board come in handy. Ask yourself if this new shiny thing contributes in anyway to the overall task if the answer is no, it most likely is, then don't put anymore time into it and carry on executing.
When executing you may have other ideas/issues that you discover. As a result, I suggest noting these down in some way, we can revisit them in our review and the prioritise how we deal with them,
Weekly reviews of you plan are essential to make sure you are staying on track. Take a look at what tasks you accomplished over the week and ask yourself how it went, what you could do better and have you achieved what you set out to do?
If you didn't, that is okay, learn from it and ask yourself how you can improve your process to work better for you. Readjust your workflow and find what works best for you.
Weekly reviews are also a good time to take a look at the notes, ideas and issues you may have created / stumbled on during the week. At this point, ask yourself the following questions regarding your notes/collected issues from the week:
- How does it help achieve the goal of the project?
- Will implementing this idea lead to substantial progress gains?
- if it is an issue, what is the fastest way that you can solve it?
- what is the effort required?
After doing this, make changes to your Trello board and repeat the process above. Add any new items to the board, prioritise, plan, execute, review, repeat.
Doing the above over and over again, week after week will lead you to create something useful, meaningful and make your ideas and goals more attainable. The cool thing about is that you can apply this technique to almost any aspect of life where there is a goal that you want to achieve as it favour progress over perfection.
Try it out, let me know how it goes and as always have a lovely day, week, year and life. Stay Happy! 😃